Joanna Newsom refuses to title new song

She previews the nine-minute track in LA

Joanna Newsom
Joanna Newsom continues to haul her eleven-pedal from concert hall to concert hall, filling out the sound of her four-piece band with 28 orchestral players sawing and lilting away at arrangements by fabled Beach Boys collaborator Van Dyke Parks.

Friday’s two-hour show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles saw indie rock’s favorite harpist playing all of last year’s stunning Ys in her first set. Even those accustomed to the fullness of performances on recent tours – where band members Lila Sklar and Ryan Francesconi replicated the record’s lush feel in tiny rock clubs – found themselves startled by the rich sound of songs like “Emily” and “Monkey & Bear” with full orchestral backing.

An unusually chatty crowd offered comments throughout the set. From the looks of surprise among the violinists, it seems safe to assume the L.A. Philharmonic doesn’t often hear shouted-out compliments on its performers’ clothing or near-heckles about the sound mix. By contrast, conductor Sean O’Loughlin, perhaps hardened by past experiences directing orchestras for The Decemberists and Blue Man Group, seemed unruffled by the to-do.

Newsom’s second set, performed without the orchestra, had her reaching back to earlier, often simpler material before capping the night with a sprawling new song. “This one’s new, and it doesn’t have a name yet, contrary to popular belief,” Newsom said as she introduced the number, which has been referred to as ‘Easme’[b] by fans since its debut last month in [b]London. Settling into her seat to begin the nine-minute epic, she turned a little mock-haughty as she added, “and I don’t intend to give it a name until I’m good and ready.”

Newsom’s current tour concludes next week in Atlanta.

She played:

‘Emily’
‘Monkey & Bear’
‘Sawdust & Diamonds’
‘Only Skin’
‘Cosmia’
‘Bridges and Balloons’
‘The Book of Right-On’
‘Inflammatory Writ’
‘Colleen’
‘Peach, Plum, Pear’
‘Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie’
Untitled new song
‘Sadie’


--By our Los Angeles staff.
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